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Category “Republicans”

H-1B Visa Reform Would Have At Least Made Sense

Let me pref­ace this post by say­ing: “I’m not for amnesty, just san­ity.”

While largely dead for the rest of the 2013–14 con­gres­sional cal­en­dar, there were some things I per­son­ally would have liked to have seen touched in an immi­gra­tion pack­age or sep­a­rate bill.  (You know, that piece­meal approach talked about, but appar­ently not going to be tried.)

At the top of that list is “H-1B Visa Reform.”

H-1B” is, like most visas issued by the State Depart­ment, one of a vari­ety of work visas granted to immi­grants who are tem­po­rary work­ers inside the United States.  H-1B’s are a spe­cialty type of visa which only are avail­able to the fol­low­ing qualifications:

  1. You must be a for­eign national.
  2. You must have already earned a col­lege degree.
  3. Said degree must be in a career related to what are called “STEM” (Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, Engi­neer­ing & Math) fields.

The visas last for three years and can be renewed for another three for a total of six years; and with their employ­ers spon­sor­ship, they can gain cit­ize That stay can be up to ten years, only if you are work­ing for a defense con­trac­tor.  They are highly-coveted by tech­nol­ogy firms in Sil­i­con Val­ley such as Google, IBM, Face­book and Oracle.

Annu­ally, 65,000 new H-1Bs are issued, with an addi­tional 20,000 to eli­gi­ble immi­grants already in the coun­try who get­ting their col­lege degrees. Esti­ma­tions are that since the pro­gram began around 2,000, over 850,000 H-1Bs have been issued.

So why reform them and what to do?  The com­mon answer — accepted on both sides — has been to lift the annual quota.  Why? Because the world is a com­pet­i­tive work­place, and despite con­stant inter­est in com­puter sci­ences and IT, Amer­ica isn’t gen­er­at­ing enough of them fast enough.  Also, other nations also have sub­stan­tial tech­nol­ogy sec­tors them­selves and will grab up these wouldbe employees.

In the most recent pod­cast episode for the center-right web­site Ric­o­chet, renowned polit­i­cal ana­lyst Michael Barone told a story of how a Cana­dian diplo­mat prayed that Amer­ica didn’t change its immi­gra­tion pol­icy towards high-skilled work­ers (the ones sought through the H-1B pro­gram) because then all these folks could come to Van­cou­ver, Cal­gary and Toronto.  British Colum­bia is well-known to be the high-tech hub match­ing its neigh­bors south of the bor­der in Wash­ing­ton State and Sil­i­con Valley.

It is this exact thing which makes the immi­gra­tion debate as a whole so frus­trat­ing.  While we’re fight­ing over what is clearly a hor­rific Sen­ate bill, both sides need to take a moment, fig­ure out where there is actual con­sen­sus on immi­gra­tion — like visa reform, which has noth­ing to do with amnesty much if at all — and craft a bill.

Any­one who still demands a full, “com­pre­hen­sive approach” (Chuck Schumer, I’m look­ing at you.) should be barred from the room.  Ham­mer out some­thing that works, not just for those get­ting the H-1Bs’, but for the U.S. econ­omy as well.

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Cartoon of the Day

While there weren’t as many responses as Joe Heller mocks in this car­toon, I com­pletely agree the take. Why does “The Tea Party” need its own response? It’s redun­dant and sends a mixed mes­sage and only gives the media ammo of a “GOP Civil War” on the way.

And any­one think­ing Rand Paul’s per­sonal response wasn’t self-serving and only intended as a pos­si­ble launch­ing pad for 2016 clearly hasn’t been pay­ing attention.

Look, I’m not ask­ing us to all be read­ing in sync, but can we at least be on the same page?

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RNC Approves New 2016 Nomination Rules 153 to 9">RNC Approves New 2016 Nomination Rules 153 to 9

Huge win for RNC Chair­man Reince Priebus on this con­sol­i­da­tion of the sched­ule.  This ends the all-out scram­ble that had been going on is past pres­i­den­tial years by some states (Like Florida…) to make sure “they mat­tered” when it came to pick­ing a party’s nominee.

The next step, and this will take a rare moment of polit­i­cal san­ity between both the DNC and RNC, is a series of rotat­ing regional pri­maries.  We’re almost there already, but the idea of hav­ing all New Eng­land states vot­ing on one day makes a lot more sense than the piece­meal shuf­fle of one state in the Mid­west and another in the Pacific North­west on the same day.

Also, it would allow for more bus tours in mul­ti­ple states, which vot­ers typ­i­cally like (and cam­paigns like because they’re cheaper on budgets).

The Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee on Fri­day voted to sig­nif­i­cantly com­press its pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing cal­en­dar and to move its nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion ear­lier in the sum­mer of 2016.

The full com­mit­tee voted at its annual win­ter meet­ing to approve a new rules pack­age that would allow the four reg­u­lar early states — Iowa, New Hamp­shire, Nevada and South Car­olina — to hold their nom­i­nat­ing con­tests in Feb­ru­ary 2016 and penal­ize other states that might try to move their con­tests ear­lier than March 1.

In both the 2008 and 2012 nom­i­nat­ing con­tests, states anx­ious to be one of the first con­tests have pushed the nom­i­nat­ing cal­en­dar into early Jan­u­ary. The result in 2012 was a long, some­times nasty pri­mary process that Repub­li­cans think hurt their chances of win­ning the presidency.

While the old cal­en­dar stretched six months from early Jan­u­ary to late June — and was com­pet­i­tive for about half that span — the new one is intended to be as much as three months shorter — from early Feb­ru­ary to April or May.

Per­haps even more telling are the penal­ties the RNC will hand down to state par­ties and their del­e­ga­tions which try to jump in line.

* States that hold nom­i­nat­ing con­tests between March 1 and March 14 must allo­cate their del­e­gates pro­por­tion­ally rather than on a winner-take-all basis. States gen­er­ally pre­fer the winner-take-all method (in order to have more influ­ence and draw more inter­est from can­di­dates), so the rule is designed to dis­cour­age the other 46 states from hold­ing all their con­tests in early March.

(Wis­con­sin is a “winner-take-all” state dur­ing GOP pri­maries, the Dems used to have a pro­por­tional dis­tri­b­u­tion based on con­gres­sional dis­trict. That might have changed after the 2008 race.)

* States must select their del­e­gates at least 45 days prior to the con­ven­tion, rather than the pre­vi­ous 35. This, com­bined with the ear­lier con­ven­tion, should sig­nif­i­cantly tighten the pri­mary sched­ule on the back end. In 2012, pri­maries were held as late as June.

(The cur­rent 2016 RNC Con­ven­tion is sched­uled for some­time around August June.  No city has been announced yet as the site.)

* Penal­ties for states mov­ing in Feb­ru­ary or Jan­u­ary will be more seri­ous than in the past. While the com­mit­tee pre­vi­ously stripped them of half their del­e­gates, they will now lose more than that, in most cases. States with at least 30 del­e­gates would be left with just 12 rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the con­ven­tion, while states with less than 30 del­e­gates would have nine.

(Florida, you’ve been warned…)

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Cartoon of the Day

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RSLC Buys up Dot GOP Domain">RSLC Buys up Dot GOP Domain

This is a costly move, but in today’s mod­ern world of polit­i­cal cyber-squatting, a nec­es­sary evil.  If the Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee or sis­ter com­mit­tee doesn’t lock it down, chances are in today’s “Take-No-Prisoners’” online polit­i­cal war, your ene­mies will.

But this not cheap.  A friend I know tells me that lock­ing down a domain runs about a cool half-million; which is why it is rarely done.   How­ever, since your orga­ni­za­tion now has over­sight over a domain, you can make up that money over time by charg­ing around $25 to $50 a URL to can­di­dates, com­mit­tees and other loyal entities.

The Repub­li­can State Lead­er­ship Com­mit­tee, a group that focuses on elect­ing Repub­li­cans to state-level offices, won cus­tody of the domain in the spring after an Inter­net gov­ern­ing body invited groups to vie for hun­dreds of new domains.

Now, in a plan first shared with POLITICO, the com­mit­tee is solic­it­ing infor­ma­tion from Repub­li­cans inter­ested in hav­ing .gop sites. It is oper­at­ing on an inter­nal time­line that would allow those sites to get up and run­ning by the first quar­ter of 2014.

At the RSLC, we do pride our­selves on try­ing to look a lit­tle fur­ther down the road and take a longer view of things,” Chair­man Ed Gille­spie said in an inter­view, cit­ing work the com­mit­tee already does to recruit local can­di­dates who may rise into the ranks of the national party one day. “I think we’re well posi­tioned for that.”

The domain project fits into that vision, Gille­spie said, because it can poten­tially “fos­ter a broader sense of com­mu­nity” for Repub­li­cans on the Inter­net and boost GOP brand­ing through sites such as news.gop or polling.gop.

Most peo­ple and groups seek­ing sites with .gop domains will be able to reg­is­ter them in “real time,” said Pres­i­dent Chris Jankowski in a state­ment. “But cer­tain names that are espe­cially rel­e­vant to our com­mu­nity are sub­ject to a dif­fer­ent process for reg­is­tra­tion which is stan­dard indus­try practice.”

The com­mit­tee is also work­ing on a selec­tion process to ensure that no mischief-makers will be able to get their hands on “.gop” domains.  A move that not only makes sense, but would be crucial.

Last thing you want to have hap­pen is a porn site float­ing out there with a “.gop” domain.

Now the ques­tion remains is which cam­paigns for 2014 will be the first to spend $50 for what is essen­tially a van­ity URL.

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Cartoon of the Day

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DNC Like the Federal Government…in the Red">Democrats Running the DNC Like the Federal Government…in the Red

This could come back and haunt a whole mess of state par­ties come Novem­ber 2014.

(No won­der Mike Tate is push­ing for a self-financing can­di­date to run against Gov. Scott Walker.  There’s not going to be a ton of help from D.C. if these num­bers hold up.)

The Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee raised $2 mil­lion more than the Demo­c­ra­tic National Com­mit­tee dur­ing July and sits on $12 mil­lion in cash, while the DNC has a net bal­ance of $14 mil­lion in debt.

The Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee reported receipts of $5,859,144 and dis­burse­ments of $6,330,364 in July, leav­ing $12,267,525 cash on hand as of July 31, and no debts.

The com­mit­tee raised $3.1 mil­lion from con­trib­u­tors giv­ing $200 or less and item­ized $2.5 mil­lion from donors giv­ing more than $200. PACs gave $36,000.

[…]

The DNC Ser­vices Corp./Democratic National Com­mit­tee reported receipts of $3,858,625 and dis­burse­ments of $5,386,438 in July, leav­ing $4,143,852 cash on hand as of July 31, with debts of $18,466,369.

The com­mit­tee raised $2.1 mil­lion from con­trib­u­tors giv­ing $200 or less, and $1,458,577 from those giv­ing more than $200. PACs and other com­mit­tee gave $190,909.

In the DNC’s defense, they did send over $1M to a num­ber of state par­ties, none of which were iden­ti­fied.  Also to the sav­ing grace of Democ­rats, idi­otic tem­per tantrums led by Tea Party groups have given the DCCC and DSCC a fund rais­ing lead for 2014 against their GOP coun­ter­parts, the NRCC and NRSC.

The com­mit­tees should be announc­ing new fund rais­ing num­bers dur­ing the rest of the week.

UPDATE: Already in for July, the DSCC out­raised the NRSC by a mar­gin of $3.4M to the NRSC’s $2.7M.  So far for the cycle, the DSCC has raised over $30M while the NRSC has raised around $20M.

Cash on Hand totals for the com­mit­tee have not yet been released.

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Erick Erickson Has Officially Lost it

I was will­ing to give him a pass for 2012 and back­ing Mark Neumann.

But how the hell do defend — let alone for­give and then endorse for a run for Con­gress — an admit­ted liar, adul­terer and God only knows what else in for­mer South Car­olina Gov. Mark Sanford?

Con­ser­v­a­tives take the hard­est line and exile their own who have failed them to the sidelines.

They should. We have val­ues and when those val­ues are betrayed by those who fight with us, we must often show them tough love and show them the door.

But we do a ter­ri­ble job with for­give­ness and reha­bil­i­ta­tion. Mark San­ford walked out of the Governor’s Man­sion and out of pub­lic life for a while. He comes back as con­ser­v­a­tives in Con­gress are fight­ing on all fronts, out num­bered, depressed, and need­ing every man capa­ble of man­ning the ramparts.

Mark San­ford can man the ram­parts. Unlike his oppo­nents, he has a stel­lar and uncom­pro­mis­ing record as a lim­ited gov­ern­ment, pro-life, fis­cal conservative.

I am will­ing to for­give him. And I’m will­ing to be grace­ful. We need him. There’s no bet­ter alter­na­tive. He’s with us. I endorse him with­out reser­va­tion. I hope the vot­ers of South Car­olina will show him grace and put him back in the fight at this des­per­ate hour for fis­cal conservatives.

Erick Erickson’s mind has offi­cially gone for a trip on the Appalachian Trail…

We don’t “need him” as Erick puts it.  We don’t need him to be used by the media as a punch­line, as a reminder to his past deeds, to be her­alded as an exam­ple of “GOP Hypocrisy” in the realm of fam­ily val­ues and other social planks of the party.

There are no doubt any num­ber of strong, viable can­di­dates in what is an over­whelm­ingly GOP-majority Con­gres­sional District.

Since this is for a House seat in South Car­olina, I can only fathom what else is going on in the back­ground know­ing some of the play­ers Erick­son is known to meet with behind the scenes.

Last week I got chas­tised by some for being too rough on Erick­son in my piece on RightWiscon­sin.  Hon­estly, I left him off the hook for a few other things I’ve heard about via rumors.  I at least have the stones to know a wannabe charleton and point him out when I see one,  not sure I can say the same about those who went after me last week.

Don’t know about them, but I take it as a mat­ter of pride that my invites to the annual Red­State Gath­er­ing are “lost in the mail.”   Hav­ing Erick­son endorse San­ford for Con­gress only con­firms he’s only look­ing out for him­self most of the time, not the move­ment, not the party.  Just him­self, his web­site and his radio show in Atlanta.

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DeMint to Leave Senate, Takeover at Heritage Foundation

Not sur­prised, but shocked as well for a few reasons.

South Car­olina U.S. Sen­a­tor Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feul­ner as pres­i­dent of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior sen­a­tor in early Jan­u­ary to take con­trol of the Wash­ing­ton think tank, which has an annual bud­get of about $80 million.

Sen. DeMint’s depar­ture means that South Car­olina Gov­er­nor Nikki Haley, a Repub­li­can, will name a suc­ces­sor, who will have to run in a spe­cial elec­tion in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint’s replace­ment and Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham will be run­ning for reelec­tion in South Carolina.

Mr. DeMint was reelected to a sec­ond term in 2010. The 61-year-old sen­a­tor had announced ear­lier that he would not seek a third term.

Mr. Feul­ner, who is 71 and planned to step down, is to be named chan­cel­lor of Her­itage, a new posi­tion, and will con­tinue in a part-time capac­ity as chair­man of the foundation’s Asian Stud­ies Center.

In an inter­view pre­ced­ing the suc­ces­sion announce­ment, Sen. DeMint said he is tak­ing the Her­itage job because he sees it as a vehi­cle to pop­u­lar­ize con­ser­v­a­tive ideas in a way that con­nects with a broader pub­lic. “This is an urgent time,” the sen­a­tor said, “because we saw in the last elec­tion we were not able to com­mu­ni­cate con­ser­v­a­tive ideas that win elec­tions.” Mr. DeMint, who was a mar­ket researcher before he entered pol­i­tics, said he plans to take the Her­itage Foundation’s tra­di­tional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and “trans­late those pol­icy papers into real-life demon­stra­tions of things that work.” He said, “We want to fig­ure out what works at the local and state level” and give those mod­els national attention.

Mr. DeMint, an active con­ser­v­a­tive par­ti­san often at odds with his party’s lead­er­ship, says he will “pro­tect the integrity of Heritage’s research and not politi­cize the pol­icy com­po­nent. Her­itage is not just another grass­roots polit­i­cal group.”

Still, the sen­a­tor acknowl­edges that the polit­i­cal fires still burn: “This really gets my blood going again think­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ties. This is the time to ele­vate the con­ser­v­a­tive cause.”

Sen. DeMint plans to join Her­itage in the first week of Jan­u­ary, before the new ses­sion of Con­gress begins.

I had heard from friends still at Her­itage that Dr. Feul­ner was look­ing for a grace­ful way to step aside.  He has led the Her­itage Foun­da­tion since its found­ing in 1973, and his lead­er­ship has helped make Her­itage the think tank for the con­ser­v­a­tive movement.

My one con­cern with DeMint is that he is known to try to have his hands in things he prob­a­bly shouldn’t and by that I mean GOP Sen­ate pri­maries.  His “Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund” (which I’m guess­ing he’ll have to sus­pend or leave) was known for get­ting involved in races — many of which ended badly in 2012 — and tick­ing off the NRSC.

Her­itage doesn’t need to get drawn into that.  Her­itage is big­ger than the pet­ti­ness of that.  It’s pres­tige is more impor­tant than that.

In the time of the announce­ment of the WSJ story, I’ve reached out to a few friends at Her­itage and they’ve told that believe that Her­itage will still be the same, great think tank it has always been.  My hope is, that is true.

An all-staff meet­ing is sup­posed to be going on later, with a pos­si­ble Foundry post explain­ing what a post-Feulner, Demint-led Her­itage Foun­da­tion looks like.

UPDATE: Here’s the link from Her­itage announc­ing the news.

UPDATE II: John Pod­horetz points out my con­cerns with this news as it means to the future of the move­ment know­ing DeMint’s temperament.

The temp­ta­tion for DeMint will be to stress the institution’s role in oppo­si­tion, which is his stock in trade as a sen­a­tor, and to down­grade its pol­icy role, which has had its major “up”s (wel­fare reform) and its blind-spot “down”s (advo­cat­ing a health-care man­date in 1994). But if ideas do not play the cen­tral role, Her­itage will hol­low itself out, and that would be a great shame. Ed Feul­ner stands as one of the great public-policy inno­va­tors of the 20th cen­tury; it would be thrilling if the same could be said of Jim DeMint when he passes on the man­tle to his successor.

Indeed.

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The “Take a Swing” Comment in Context

In my hon­est opin­ion, far too much is being made out of this news.

Mitt Romney’s old­est son joked in a radio inter­view Wednes­day his pre­ferred method of deal­ing with a com­bat­ive Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was to “take a swing” at his dad’s rival.

Asked on the Bill LuMaye radio show what it’s like “to hear the Pres­i­dent of the United States call your dad a liar,” Tagg Rom­ney joked about his fan­tasy response.

Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him,” he said. “But you know you can’t do that because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Ser­vice between you and him, but also because that’s the nature of the process. You know they’re going to try to do any­thing they can do to make my dad into some­thing he’s not.”

(Bit of a Wis­con­sin con­nec­tion there.  Bill LuMaye used to have a radio show up in Green Bay before mov­ing on to North Carolina.)

Any­one who’s ever worked on a cam­paign — which is why I found Jim Rowen so idi­otic with his take, or was the only swing­ing involved with Norquist going on with Figueroa — knows that the peo­ple who are going to be on the tough­est emo­tional roller­coaster ride will be the spouse and kids of the can­di­dates.  They are the ones who have to stand silent as their husband/wife/father/mother is attacked in TV ads, lam­pooned on blogs, and chas­tised in the press; and all they can do is sit there like a rock and take it.

The first thing any cam­paign man­ager knows that upon intro­duc­ing your­self to the candidate’s fam­ily is telling them it is going to get ugly.  That they’ll grow a thick skin since what’s about to go through the wringer and look­ing at some of the tough­est days they may ever have in their lives.

Every cam­paign has its full share of sto­ries about the candidate’s fam­ily snap­ping into profanity-laced tirades at sto­ries in the press behind the scenes and you’re never going to hear them.  Why?  Because every staffer under­stands that if the roles were reversed, they’d be doing the same.

Like say, this woman was in 2008.

[Michelle Obama’s] pride vis­i­bly chafes at being asked to sub­sume her per­son­al­ity, to make her­self seem duller and less inde­pen­dent than she is, even in the ser­vice of get­ting her hus­band elected Pres­i­dent of the United States. In Wis­con­sin, I asked her if she was offended by Bill Clinton’s use of the phrase ‘fairy­tale’ to describe her husband’s char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of his posi­tion on the Iraq war. At first, Obama responded with a curt ‘No’. But, after a few sec­onds, she affected a funny voice. ‘I want to rip his eyes out!’ she said, claw­ing at the air with her fin­ger­nails. One of her advis­ers gave her a ner­vous look. ‘Kid­ding!’ Obama said. ‘See, this is what gets me into trouble.’

Peo­ple are human, some­times they need to blow a lit­tle steam.

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